Lagardere signs contract with Hearst for magazines sale

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French media group Lagardere said Monday it had signed a contract with US publisher Hearst to sell its international stable of magazines for 651 million euros ($918 million).

The deal for 102 titles in 15 countries outside Lagardere's French base, including the local versions of the flagship women's monthly Elle, was agreed in January but signing was delayed due to notification requirements in several countries.

"Having conducted the requisite information procedure with the Lagardere group workers' councils in certain jurisdictions pursuant to the relevant regulatory requirements, Lagardere SCA has today signed the share purchase agreement for the sale of its international magazine business to Hearst Corporation," it said in a statement.

"The closing of the transaction remains subject to approval by local partners in certain countries as well as to certain customary governmental approvals and antitrust clearances in certain jurisdictions," Lagardere said, adding it expects the transaction to close in the coming months.

Lagardere will continue to own the "Elle" trademark and to receive annual royalty payments based on its sales, while also overseeing the title's "brand consistency" through its management network.

The deal includes Lagardere's magazines in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Britain, China, Japan, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan, Canada and Germany.

While Lagardere is best known for Elle and book publishing, Hearst owns Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping as well as a large US newspaper group, 29 television stations and more than 200 magazines around the world.

© 2011 AFP

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